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Foie Gras in Apple and Red Wine Reduction


(serves 3)
In my opinion, pan seared foie gras is the pièce de résistance of French Cuisine. When cooked in this method, you’ll find your foie gras smooth and creamy on the inside while wrapped in a thin crispy shell. It is probably the only instance where liver can actually taste delicious. For this particular version, I have chosen to use a combination of red wine, apple and marmalade to balance out the slightly oily taste of hot foie gras. 

Ingredients 

  1. Fresh Goose Foie Gras (200g)
  2. Apple (1)
  3. Onion (1/2)
  4. Pork Stock Cube
  5. Coarse Cut Marmalade 
  6. Fennel Seeds
  7. Red Wine (1/2 cup)
  8. Woustershire Sauce
  9. Butter
  10. Nutmeg
  11. Corn Flour    

Preparation 

  1. For this recipe you need half a cup of pork stock(salted), which is really an inconveniently small amount of stock. What I usually do is place half a pork stock cube, 1t of fennel seeds and 3/4 cup of boiling water in the microwave for 2 minutes. I then leave it covered for an hour for the seeds to release their flavour. If you can’t get pork stock cubes, you’ll just need to make the stock the old fashioned way, with pork bones.
  2. Your foie gras should be fresh, the type that is sealed in a chilled vacuum pack. Give some thought as to how its best to divide it equally into 3 while maintaining 1/2 inch thick pieces. You’ll normally need to slice diagonally. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper on both sides and then dust the pieces of foie gras thoroughly with corn flour. The foie gras is delicate and I find its best to do the cutting/seasoning/dusting on a cutting board. Leave to dry in the fridge.
  3. Peel and cut one (red) apple into 1/4 inch cubes and do the same with half an onion. Pan fry these with a knob of butter for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  4. Next, add half a cup of red wine, the half cup of stock (minus the fennel seeds), a dash of woustershire sauce and 3t (heaping) of coarse cut marmalade. Continue to simmer. When the liquid begins to bubble on the pan surface, adjust heat to the minimum and occasionally lift the pan off the heat to avoid getting a burnt taste. Stop when you have reduced the liquid to a thin syrup-like consistency.
  5. When the wine reduction is done, preheat a second pan with a light drizzle of olive oil. When this pan is searing hot, place your foie gras in straight from the fridge. Fry for one minute on each side and then thirty seconds on each side (i.e. 3 minutes in total). Remove immediately onto your serving plate, but leave the drippings in the pan.
  6. While the pan is still very hot, pour the apple wine reduction into the pan and mix well. Sprinkle in some black pepper and nutmeg, then check for taste. If your stock wasn’t salty enough, you might need to add some salt. Spoon the finished apple and wine reduction on and around your plated foie gras and you’re ready to impress.

Notes

  • You fry the foie gras straight from the fridge for two reasons. Firstly, this is the best way to get the outside crispy without overcooking the inside. Secondly, when left at room temperature, raw fois gras wil lose its shape.
  • If you like the inside to be soft and juicy, make your foie gras pieces 3/4 inch thick instead.
  • As you are reducing red wine without meat, do not use high tannin wines like cabernet sauvignon and shiraz.
  • For this recipe, it doesn’t matter whether you use Corn Flour or Corn Starch. The idea is to give an attractive sheen and a nice crisp exterior to the foie gras. The only time you need to worry is if you use corn flour as a thickening agent, in which case if there is some flour mixed into the starch, it will leave an after taste.
  • If you like foie gras, check out my Foie Gras Creme Brulee. 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Appetizers, French, Poultry, Recipe

 

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Foie Gras Creme Brulee


(serves 5-6 )
This is a sinfully delicious appetizer which uses foie gras suspended in a creamy egg custard. It is a good alternative to pan fried foie gras but is easier to perfect every time. Foie gras is often accompanied by cooked fruits to provide a good contrast and in this recipe I will be using an orange and date chutney for this purpose.

Ingredients

  1. Goose Liver Pâté (250g)
  2. Eggs (4)
  3. Cream (1 cup)
  4. Orange (1)
  5. Large Dried Dates (4)
  6. Butter (30g)
  7. Grand Marnier
  8. Port
  9. Cinnamon powder
  10. Coriander seed powder
  11. Cardamon

Preparation – Custard

  1. The first step is to buy the right Pâté – see my notes below.
  2. While the pâté is still cold, cut away and discard the layer of lard (this is how you know its ‘real’ pâté by the way). Cut into small cubes and leave to warm to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the warmed pâté with 1 cup of cream, 3T of Port (or other fortified wine like Madeira), 0.5t of salt, 1t of crushed corainder seed, 1t of sugar and 1t of black pepper .   
  4. In addition, add to the bowl 4 egg yolks and 2 egg whites (you won’t be needing the other 2 whites) and put the entire mixture through a food processor on high speed until the pâté disappears.
  5. Preheat your oven to 135oC (275oF) and put some water to boil.
  6. Spoon the custard into ramekins through a strainer, this will give you a smoother finish. Cover each ramekin with tin foil as tightly as you can, this will prevent condensation from marring the complexion of your custard.  
  7. Arrange the ramekins into a (or two) pyrex casserole dish and place into the oven. Using a pitcher, pour the boiling water into the casserole dish until it is half full. Bake for 1 hour. Serve in the ramekins, either straight out of the oven or refrigerated.

Preparation – Chutney

  1. While the baking take place, de-seed your dates and cut them into about 24 tiny pieces each.
  2. Squeeze the juice of your orange into a cup and using a spoon, scoop out all the remaining pulp (minus the membranes where possible).
  3. In a frying pan, melt a large knob of butter and stir fry the dates in the butter for a minute or so. Then pour in the orange juice and pulp and add a pinch of cardamon. Continue to simmer under a low flame. Break up any large chunks of orange pulp.
  4. When the juice thickens, add 2T of Grand Marnier (or Cointreau) and turn the heat off after fifteen seconds. Sprinkle in 1t of cinnamon powder and remove the chutney to a bowl where it can cool and thicken further.
  5. It doesn’t matter if the foie gras custard is being served hot or cold, serve the chutney at room temperature.

Notes

  • Most recipes I have come across specify actual pieces of foie gras but I prefer pâté (sometimes called parfaits) as the fat has been distilled out (see picture?) and the liver is already thoroughly infused with the natural sweetness of sauternes. It is important that you use ‘fresh’ pâté from the deli counter and not canned liver pâté (chicken/pork) like I suggested in these previous recipes:Liver Pâté Soufflé and Deluxe Stuffing.
  • If cost is a concern, it is ok to use duck liver pâté instead of goose, it won’t officially be foie gras anymore but it will work. Don’t use liver mousse. It looks similar to pâté but contains only 50% liver instead of the mandatory 75%.
  • Oh you may have noticed I didn’t actually brulee my custard.  You can do this if you wish but I find the chutney povides enough sweetness by itself. Sprinkle sugar over the ramekins after they have cooled, flip each over for a second so excess sugar falls off and then melt the sugar with a cigar torch which you move frequently to prevent over charring. The melted sugar will solidify into a clear coating.
  • If Foie Gras is your thing, check out my Pan Fried Foie Gras and Foie Gras in Orange Reduction Amuse-Bouche as well.
 
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Posted by on June 6, 2010 in Appetizers, French, Recipe

 

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Deluxe Stuffing


(enough to stuff a big chicken)
This is my mother’s recipe for stuffing, from the days when she used to give cooking classes, before I was born. It has a high meat content, which makes it non-starchy and also taste especially scrumptious. If ever there was a timeless recipe for me, to be passed to future generations, this is the one. It is not a simple recipe, but you will be rewarded for your hard work.

Ingredients

  1. Liver Pâté (250g)
  2. Boiled Chestnuts (350g)
  3. Big Red Onions (3)
  4. Bacon Slices (10)
  5. Chicken Livers (8)
  6. Bread Slices (3)
  7. Milk (1/2 cup)
  8. Pork Sausages (12)
  9. your choice of herbs

Preparation

  1. Nowadays I just buy cooked peeled chestnuts, the type which is sold as a healthy snack. If you are doing it the old fashioned way of boiling chestnuts, remember that 350g is the weight without the shell. To my (vague) recollection, this is equivalent to 2 cups in volume. Either way, chop the chestnut into small chunks.
  2. Cut the red onions into quarter inch squares and fry in 2T of olive oil till they are limp. These onions and the chestnuts are the only cooked ingredients and everything thing else is raw.
  3. Cut bacon into small pieces, about 1/8 inch wide. Its easier to cut if the bacon is semi-frozen.
  4. As for the liver, cut each into half and remove all the fatty tissue that is visible.
  5. Cut the crusts off the bread and then soak in the milk. The crusts can be diced seperately and mixed in at the end.
  6. Deskin the pork sausages, collecting the meat in a large bowl. For convenience, you can mix the pate and bacon into the same bowl.
  7. Put proportional amounts of everything into a food processor and blend lightly, repeating unill you have processed all your ingredients.
  8. Finally Stir in 1t of salt, 1t of pepper, 2T of olive oil and herbs of your choice. I usually use fines herbs, which is a mixtue of chives, chervil, parsley and tarragon.
  9. Your stuffing is ready. Test your stuffing by putting 1T of it on tin foil and toasting it in a toaser oven. That way you can decide if you want to adjust your seasoning.

Notes

  • There is no need to use an expensive goose pâté here as this is a baked dish. I typically use a canned pork liver pâté by plumrose. Its cheap and it keeps a long time.
  • The pork sausages need to be the type with coursely ground (i.e. raw) meat in them. I use a brand called Wall’s classic pork sausages.
  • Stuffing keeps well when frozen and I usually zip-loc away some in small bags for later use. I wouldn’t recommend keeping it for more than a day in the refridgerator.
  • If you wanta recipe which requires stuffing, try my Christmas Stuffed Chicken Breast recipe.
 
 

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Liver Pâté Faux Soufflé


(serves 6)
This is a wonderful hot appetizer, light, with just the right hint of Pâté to arouse thoughts of greater things to come. It doesn’t need any fancy ingredients and can be made in jiffy if you are pressed for time. It also makes a good side dish when paired with the right meat dish.
Let me come clean here by admitting this is a ‘fake’ soufflé. Instead of using beaten egg whites to create the fluff, it uses what I call the french toast method. Don’t worry, you are allowed to do this for savoury soufflés, as sometimes you don’t want the end result to be too light. And its much more convenient if you do it this way.

Ingredients

  1. Liver Pâté (125g)
  2. Onion (1/2)
  3. Bacon(4 slices)
  4. Diced Bread (4 cups)
  5. Cream (1 cup)
  6. Milk (2/3 cup)
  7. Eggs (3)
  8. Tarragon
  9. Basil
  10. Cognac

Preparation

  1. Stack the bacon and cut lengthwise into 3. Then cut further into small quarter inch bits. Throw these into a frying pan on a low fire.
  2. Cut the onion into similarly small pieces and when bacon fat begins to render, add the onion pieces to the pan.
  3. When the onion softens, add the Pâté to the pan and stir fry for a further minute before turning off the heat.
  4. Dice your bread without the crust into half inch cubes. Add these into the frying pan (no heat) and mix until they absorb all the liquid. Then distribute the pan’s contents evenly into 6 ramekins. There is no need to brush the inside of the ramekins with butter or anything, this soufflé does not stick. If you don’t have ramekins, just use whatever you would normally use for casseroles.
  5. Mix half the cream and the three eggs in a mixing bowl.
  6. In a pot, heat to almost boiling the rest of the cream and all the milk. Slowly pour this hot half&half into the mixing bowl with the eggs, stirring all the time to make sure the egg doesn’t get cooked. As seasoning, stir in 1t each of chopped tarragon and basil, 1t sugar, a pinch of salt and pepper and 1T of brandy.
  7. Pour the egg mixture evenly into the ramekins and leave to settle for at least half an hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180oC (350oF) and bake your soufflés for about 20 minutes. You can see them rise, so it’s not too difficult to know when they are done.

Notes

  • There is no need to use an expensive goose pâté here as this is a baked dish. I typically use a canned pork liver pâté by plumrose. It’s cheap and it keeps a long time.
  • After a bit of cooling, this soufflé pulls away from the walls so you can actually flip the whole soufflé out and serve it on a plate (right side up) with whatever decorative or side items you fancy. Let’s see you do that with an egg white soufflé.
  • Why do some recipes ask you to soak the bread overnight in the fridge? Because those recipes are handed down from grandma and she didn’t heat the milk/cream in those days. It takes a long time for the bread to disintegrate in the cold.
 
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Posted by on October 1, 2009 in Appetizers, French, Recipe

 

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